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Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: Kansas State and Homecoming

Homecoming is about our Alma mater and our Mountaineer family, but that doesn't mean we can't be good hosts while we're at it. I've put together a mix of shareable Mountain State favorites with Kansas State recommendations.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

As much as I want to introduce to you new flavors and cuisines from the regions of our competition, this week we will highlight West Virginia favorites to welcome all the old grads back to Morgantown. These are actually two childhood favorites of mine that my mom made to remind her and my dad of their home among the hills. However, I still have a couple items on here that are a Manhattan, Kansas, favorite.

West Virginia Hot Dogs

If you’ve ever been to a small town in West Virginia—heck, even Morgantown and Charleston have them—you’ve probably come across a hot dog stand or shack. In fact, West Virginia even has its own style of hot dogs, something I grew up eating and, as I heard told many times, put hair on my chest.

I have a very strong relationship with hot dogs with West Virginia chili sauce. Seriously, my mother has spent most of her life known for being able to recreate the “delicious, awesome and addictive” sauce that her and my dad discovered in Fairmont’s Yann’s Hot Dog Stand. Actually, my whole life, I’ve known them as simply, “Yann Dogs.”

I’ll give you what I know is as close as possible to mom’s sauce, then my own coleslaw recipe.

Fairmont-Style Hot Dog Sauce

The key to good Fairmont-Style Hot Dog Sauce is to boil your meat. Now, this recipe calls for ground beef, but if you can find ground venison, I would audible to that. Venison was what mom always used when I was growing up and it’s definitely better and a good balance of the spice in the sauce. Also, don't be afraid to make it spicy.


Bart’s Coleslaw

  • 2 bags of slaw mix
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt

In one large mixing bowl, empty both packages of slaw mix. In a second, smaller bowl, mix together everything else. Pour it over the slaw mix and toss together. Mix it all together well, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use (definitely need to do this at least overnight).

Now, Russell served his with just sauce and some mustard. A West Virginia Dog is actually quite simple to make. Just cook up a dog, steam your bun, cover it with “Yann Sauce” and then coleslaw (the creamier, the better).

Pepperoni Rolls
Honestly, if you don’t know what a pepperoni roll is, you’re not a West Virginian. It’s the state food of the state and can be found in just about any gas station you’ll come to. However, a really simple way to make pepperoni rolls is to use frozen dinner rolls and pepperoni slices.

Pro tip: Slice the pepperoni rolls lengthwise and fill with some of the hot dog sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and heat on the grill for a minute.

Chipotle Raspberry & Black Bean Dip
This comes as a special suggestion from this week’s podcast guest, Grant Thome. Grant is a Kansas State alumnus, historian and writer. This dish is a favorite at the Manhattan, Kansas, eatery known, So Long Saloon. This dip is not only pretty not unhealthy, but also delicious. The recipe Grant provided is gluten free and vegan, but you don’t have to use those particular ingredients, just use regular cream cheese.

You can make this pretty easily the night before and heat it the day of the tailgate. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pro tip: If you can’t find chipotle raspberry sauce, you can easily make your own sauce by adding olive oil, adobo sauce (or canned chipotle peppers), raspberries, apple cider vinegar and a lot of sugar to a pan, bring to a high heat for 3-5 minutes, then let simmer for 15 minutes, cool and then break down in a food processor.

Kansas Dirt Cake
I really struggled to think of a dessert that speaks to the soul of West Virginians. However, I found one that is pretty darn amazing that speaks to the heartland. Kansas Dirt Cake is actually a very common dessert, but it’s darn tasty and named after the soil that made the Kansas economy what it is: a farming goliath. The best part, it’s easy to make and it’s even easier to serve.

West Virginia Brew of Your Choice
I personally like Mountain State Brewery or Bridge Brew Works, but whatever West Virginia brewery you love, drink it. Celebrate craft breweries in the Mountain State.

Personally, the best part of this menu is how you can share it with other. Hot dogs, pepperoni rolls and chips and dip are all easy to make in large bunches and hand out to passersby. Make sure you utilize these to make friends or welcome old ones to your tailgate.